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Lower Respiratory Tract Infections Signs and Symptoms

Lower respiratory tract infections are any infections in the lungs or below the voice box. These include pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis.

Common lower RTIs in infants and young children include:

Flu. The flu (influenza) is a common viral infection that occurs most often during the winter months. It can be more dangerous to your health if you are very young or elderly.

Viral Bronchiolitis. Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchioles (the very small passages through which air flows to and from the lungs). This condition is very common in infants and caused by several viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the air sacs in one or both of the lungs. Its symptoms can range from mild to severe enough to require hospitalization.

The main symptom of a lower RTI is cough, which can be severe. Your child may have a dry cough or a wet cough. Even if it is a wet cough, he or she may not be able to cough up phlegm/mucus.

Other symptoms of a lower RTI include:   

- Fever

- Tightness in the chest or chest pain

- Breathing quickly or in an irregular pattern

- Difficulty catching your breath

- Wheezing

- Overall change in well-being (decreased energy, appetite and fluid intake.


Diagnosis

A doctor will usually diagnose a lower respiratory infection during an exam and after discussing the symptoms a person has and how long they have been present.

During the exam, the doctor will listen to the person’s chest and breathing through a stethoscope.

The doctor may order tests to help diagnose the problem, such as:

pulse oximetry to find how much oxygen is in the blood

chest X-rays to check for pneumonia

blood tests to check for bacteria and viruses

mucus samples to look for bacteria and viruses

Treatment

Some lower respiratory tract infections go away without needing treatment. People can treat these less-severe viral infections at home with:

- Over-the-counter medications for a cough or fever

- Plenty of rest

- Drinking plenty of fluids

In other cases, a doctor may prescribe additional treatment. This may include antibiotics for bacterial infections, or breathing treatments, such as an inhaler.

In some cases, a person may need to visit the hospital to receive IV fluids, antibiotics, or breathing support.

Very young children and infants may need more treatment than older children or healthy adults.

Doctors often monitor infants especially closely if they have a higher risk of severe infections, such as premature infants or infants with a congenital heart defect. In these cases, a doctor may be more like to recommend hospitalization.

Doctors can also recommend similar treatment for people of 65 years of age and above or those individuals with weakened immune systems.

Content created and supplied by: DropshipNews (via Opera News )

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